I'm not sure what happened to the standings but a week or so ago we were slotted to play the Pacers if we won the Atlantic. Now we've got the Hawks and all will likely change again 30 times, but it is fun to call this a "possible playoff preview" anyway.
Speaking of playoffs, the Pacers are playing like contenders recently - including a big win against the Thunder last night.
Pacers 103, Thunder 98: Indiana Bowls Over Thunder with Confident Display Lead by Granger, Hibbert - Indy Cornrows
Among the best things to come from the Indiana Pacers' recent success isn't so much that they're simply grabbing wins, but each game has told a story. It's one of a team evolving and growing, taking key steps forward. No longer is this the same team that had been able to measure their progress with moral victories; the Pacers are landing hits and leaving games with a W by their side. They're playing like the team that sits at third in their conference, one that seems like they're coming together at just the right time, and one that jumped all over the Oklahoma City Thunder en route to a key win, as they improve to 34-21 on the season, guaranteeing their first winning season since 2004-05.
That sounds like a good challenge for the Celtics who are licking their self inflicted wounds and trying to channel Doc's criticisms into a positive outcome. Also, there's a chance that Indy might be a little winded and emotionally spent after last night.
Key Matchup: Granger vs. Pierce is too obvious. Hibbert vs. Garnett doesn't seem to be any contest and I don't even know who's playing point for them these days (Barbosa?). I could go with Bradley/Allen vs. George, but I think I'd like to focus on David West vs. Brandon Bass. West kinda sorta jilted us in the offseason (for more money, which nobody can really fault him for) but Bass turned out to be better than advertised. That should be an interesting matchup.
Prediction: A hard fought victory where the team remembers to play like Celtics again.